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(Washington Post)   Meet Sigfried Gold, an atheist who credits losing 110 pounds and saving his family with praying three times a day to a "spiritual being" he created that he named "God." "That's a big hole in atheist life. Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.'"   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 216
    More: Interesting, gold, complex question, flavors, appeal  
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5644 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Jun 2013 at 8:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-25 09:23:53 AM
The Lord knows I am not a cruel man.

/meow
 
2013-06-25 09:23:58 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Prayer's goal is to amplify the power of thoughts.


Right.... So that's what pointless discussions with imaginary friends do... "amplify the power of thoughts"...
 
2013-06-25 09:26:31 AM

RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.


I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!
 
2013-06-25 09:27:38 AM
I've found vigorous exercise burns more calories than vigorous prayer, but maybe I'm just not lifting enough spiritual weight or giving my faith enough recovery time.
 
2013-06-25 09:29:36 AM
the whole is love
 
2013-06-25 09:29:59 AM
I know you lord are a jealous lord
I know the tablet is your competition
And I need for you to be reasonable

/how much?
 
2013-06-25 09:31:22 AM

Alonjar: I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me


Pro-tip. Next time claim to be Wiccan. That way the theists can throw apoplectic fits of rage/attempt to save you and the atheists will avoid you for fear of what you may do in retaliation...

I would have gone with intellectually dishonest... but lazy might work in the right context...
 
2013-06-25 09:33:26 AM

TheOriginalEd: Honestly I think the people in this thread are painting an unfair portrait of this guy. Sounds more to me like the washpo didnt really get that a fairly clever guy got around a stupid requirement that most self help programs require (forced religion) and lipserviced a fake god he made up. I dont think that he's an atheist who needs the divine in his life.. I think the washpo doesnt understand the idiocy of labels.


I don't think the 12-steppers followed him home to make sure he drew portraits of his female "God" and prayed with his family three times a day.   He tried prayer, found that it made him feel better, and pursued even better feelings.  Perfectly normal and healthy human behavior.

The health effects are easily explained.  When you feel better, you can do more of what you have to do but don't want to do, like exercise and mind your diet.  This also explains corporate masseurs, free lunches, and ping pong tables.
 
2013-06-25 09:33:45 AM
I had a being come to me yesterday who said, "come on, let's go to the gym" after a few weeks of procrastination.  So I got in my brother's car and went.  It's pretty amazing what even a small outside influence can do, if this guy had to create his own to get going I see no problem with that.

The story does help fuel my idea that 12 step programs are borderline cults, though.
 
2013-06-25 09:35:02 AM
I worship at the altar of Jenny Craig.
 
2013-06-25 09:35:16 AM

NoGods: Whenever someone asks me if I believe in a higher power I tell them, "Yes, the planet Jupiter is a higher power that I can believe in. There's nothing magical or supernatural about it. It's just higher and more powerful than me."


Oh man, the places you could go with that if they had the capacity to comprehend.  There are forces of nature that make the very image of a giant sitting on a cloud destroying cities with a mere thought laughably pathetic.
 
2013-06-25 09:36:03 AM
Atheists ain't got a prayer.
 
2013-06-25 09:36:46 AM
Of course he lost weight. He just didn't eat till he got an answer to his prayers.
www.oldmagazinearticles.com
 
2013-06-25 09:37:55 AM

Alonjar: RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.

I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!


Totally agree with you my agnostic friend.  I find it emotionally lazy and intellectually dishonest to be an atheist, since one cannot posit a certainty (there is no G-d) of a metaphysical concept.

It's like people saying that only Newtonian physics is the way the world works and there is no need to explore subatomic physics of particles which behave much differently.

As a human, I know my senses are limited to the five given to me and even those are weaker than a dog for smell or a reindeer for sight (they can see ultraviolet).
It would be an emotional argument to anger believers to say that I know for sure that there is 'No G-d', since I cannot possibly know the universe.  Therefore, I say what I do know, that 'I'm not certain if there is a G-d', which IS THE DEFINITION of being an agnostic.
 
2013-06-25 09:39:46 AM

Mercutio74: Also, FTFA:

Atheists deny religion's claim of a supernatural god but are starting to look more closely at the "very real effect" that practices such as going to church, prayer and observance of a Sabbath have on the lives of the religious, said Paul Fidalgo, a spokesman for the secular advocacy group the Center for Inquiry. "That's a big hole in atheist life," he said. "Some atheists are saying, 'Let's fill it.' Others are saying, 'Let's not.' "

That's an interesting claim.  I'm an atheist and have been since about grade 3.  I wonder if the "hole" this guy (who I guess is an "expert" on atheists?) talks about is easily filled by volunteering your time to a cause and/or belonging to some kind of social organization.  I really don't know any fellow non-believers who say, "You know what we need?  Social interaction bound together by pointless ritual!"


You don't know any non-believers who play golf, video games, or beer pong?  None who get together to watch The Game on TV?  None who attend concerts together?  Everyone eats alone?
 
2013-06-25 09:43:37 AM
I believe in an ineffable, mysterious force. It holds the universe together, penetrates through all matter. It sets the stars alight and holds the planets in their spheres.

It's called Gravity.
 
2013-06-25 09:44:14 AM

nulluspixiusdemonica: BarkingUnicorn: Prayer's goal is to amplify the power of thoughts.

Right.... So that's what pointless discussions with imaginary friends do... "amplify the power of thoughts"...


The discussions are not pointless, or ineffective. It might make more sense if you researched the relationship between mind and body.  Therein lies the power of thoughts.
 
2013-06-25 09:46:35 AM

mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26


I've always been partial to Psalm: 69
 
2013-06-25 09:46:43 AM
If some people need an imaginary friend to love them and make them feel cherished in order to cope with life, then okay.

As long as he's not pushing his idea of 'god' as 'the god', coming up with punishments in an 'afterlife' for not believing in his version of god, and not disparaging others for not believing as he does, then he's all good in my eyes.

Spiritual people are okay.  Religion sucks.
 
2013-06-25 09:46:51 AM

NostroZ: Alonjar: RedT: Especially when agnostics think they are atheists.

I'm actually agnostic, but I almost never use the word because I find when I mention that I am agnostic, both religious  and atheist people turn and combine their outrage together at me.  Its like a common ground they both find with each other.  "Psh.. thats just intellectually lazy".

.....wut?  Really??!?!

Totally agree with you my agnostic friend.  I find it emotionally lazy and intellectually dishonest to be an atheist, since one cannot posit a certainty (there is no G-d) of a metaphysical concept.

It's like people saying that only Newtonian physics is the way the world works and there is no need to explore subatomic physics of particles which behave much differently.

As a human, I know my senses are limited to the five given to me and even those are weaker than a dog for smell or a reindeer for sight (they can see ultraviolet).
It would be an emotional argument to anger believers to say that I know for sure that there is 'No G-d', since I cannot possibly know the universe.  Therefore, I say what I do know, that 'I'm not certain if there is a G-d', which IS THE DEFINITION of being an agnostic.


Nobody says they can prove there is no god. The argument is that believers can't prove there is one, extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence and all that. It's not intellectually lazy or dishonest to assume something doesn't exist until sufficiently proven otherwise, or else it would be equally intellectually lazy to assume that a race of angry, tiny hobbits don't live inside everyone's lower i
intestines and cause gas.

Your worldview would accept gas-causing, gut hobbits as a likely possibility, correct? It must be equally as likely as a god, eh? Would be foolish to dismiss the idea out of hand.
 
2013-06-25 09:48:11 AM

jfivealive: I don't care who you are or what type of person you are or what you believe in, prayer works.  And I can prove it.


God hates amputees.
 
2013-06-25 09:49:31 AM
Praying works for essentially the reason meditation works and why addiction is considered a disease.  Different neural circuitry is involved and can help shift neuroplasticity away from bad habits (or in the case of addiction, toward bad habits).  Given that my expertise is in addiciton, I'll use that as an example and just link a study that utilized brain imaging during prayer.  There's a huge difference between being given a drug and actively seeking a drug (one is out of your control and one isn't).  In drug studies, you see this as amphetamine-induced hypersensitization (or in other words, they become more prone to the motor activating effects of the drug, while animals that are trained to self-administer the compound become tolerant to the motor activating effects.

Interesting study

From the link:

Truth is, the verbal part of the prayer activates parts of the brain, but dr. Newberg found out that "it activates the area of attention in the brain, and reduced the activity of the one responsible for the sense of place."
 
2013-06-25 09:53:55 AM
This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.
 
2013-06-25 09:54:22 AM

Unoriginal_Username: mortimer_ford: Aarontology: I have another three letter G word I credit for helping me lose weight. The gym.

Psalm: 26

I've always been partial to Psalm: 69


a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com

Stop it, you are depressing God with those miserable things.
 
2013-06-25 09:55:33 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Meditation's goal is to cease creating thoughts.


That is neither the goal nor the process of meditation. Meditation comprises a vast number of practices and subjects but I can't say I've ever heard anyone who practices meditation claim that its goal is to cease creating thoughts. It's almost as if you have no idea what you're talking about and are parroting the words of someone else who is equally ignorant but that can't be since this is Fark.
 
2013-06-25 09:55:45 AM

BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.


I'm a secular humanist, thank you.
 
2013-06-25 09:56:18 AM

Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.


I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.
 
2013-06-25 09:56:25 AM
There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".
 
2013-06-25 09:58:45 AM

t3knomanser: I believe in an ineffable, mysterious force. It holds the universe together, penetrates through all matter. It sets the stars alight and holds the planets in their spheres.

It's called Gravity.


You don't know the power of the dark energy.
 
2013-06-25 09:59:37 AM

big pig peaches: There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".


I'm agnostic myself, but I feel that by praying, people are sidestepping a lot of the motivational circuit to effect change in behavior.  From a neurological standpoint it's fascinating.
 
2013-06-25 10:00:25 AM

RedPhoenix122: Praise the Sun!


I'm afraid you have it all wrong, RedPhoenix122, all of you. I've been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn't. Don't you understand? It's not the sun up in the sky. It's the Son of God!
 
2013-06-25 10:01:02 AM

rubi_con_man: Farking Canuck: untaken_name: Atheism is the worst religion ever.

Anvils are the worst boats ever.

I totally agree. Atheism - The common, shared belief that there is no God - is the worst belief system ever. (or is that system of disbelief?)

Yes, Atheism is a Religion. An Exceptionally spare one, but certainly a belief system with at least one big article of faith : There is no God. Other articles of faith (depending on your personal creed) are : Theists are stupid, The Universe is like __________, and Atheism isn't a religion.

Be well, Adherents of Atheism.


What are the religious tenets of Atheism?  The central figure(s) of Atheism?  To whom do you pray?  Whom do you honor and revere?

Bear in mind that believing in something because it can be proven is not faith, Faith is believing in something absent of evidence.

Believing in something that can be proven is not faith.  We call that sanity.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:04 AM

WI241TH: I had a being come to me yesterday who said, "come on, let's go to the gym" after a few weeks of procrastination.  So I got in my brother's car and went.  It's pretty amazing what even a small outside influence can do, if this guy had to create his own to get going I see no problem with that.

The story does help fuel my idea that 12 step programs are borderline cults, though.


The most important step in the 12 steps is number 3, where you give you life and will over to your "higher power." The other steps reinforce and justify that abdication through a systematic cycle of self-criticism and self-hatred.


And that's what makes those things cults, or cult-like enough.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:25 AM

BarkingUnicorn: You don't know any non-believers who play golf, video games, or beer pong? None who get together to watch The Game on TV? None who attend concerts together? Everyone eats alone?


Each of those activities has a point.  And none are really ritualistic... though you could make an argument that golf tradition has some ritualistic elements.
 
2013-06-25 10:01:27 AM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: BarkingUnicorn: Meditation's goal is to cease creating thoughts.

That is neither the goal nor the process of meditation. Meditation comprises a vast number of practices and subjects but I can't say I've ever heard anyone who practices meditation claim that its goal is to cease creating thoughts. It's almost as if you have no idea what you're talking about and are parroting the words of someone else who is equally ignorant but that can't be since this is Fark.


"No thought,no reflection,no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself."  Tilopa.

Your education is sorely lacking.  Meditation with the goal of emptying the mind of thoughts is an ancient technique practiced by hundreds of millions.
 
2013-06-25 10:03:27 AM
Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.
 
2013-06-25 10:04:35 AM

MayoSlather: Makes sense. As an atheist myself, I still molest little boys so I don't lose touch with my heritage.


Coffee does nothing for keyboards, you know.

I'm wondering how this tactic of "prayer to an entity in which one does not believe" differs in any tangible sense from this:

unleashthegoddess.files.wordpress.com

/older than dirt but like dirt, you can grow stuff with it.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:12 AM
"New research on atheists by the Pew Research Center shows a range of beliefs. Eighteen percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their life, 26 percent say they are spiritual or religious and 14 percent believe in "God or a universal spirit." Of all Americans who say they don't believe in God - not all call themselves "atheists" - 12 percent say they pray. "


So... 26 percent of Atheists say they're religious?

Is this the same type of "Atheist" as the "Scientists" referred to in their other stories?
 
2013-06-25 10:05:26 AM

Infernalist: BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.

I'm a secular humanist, thank you.


No, thank you!  I collect non sequiturs.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:38 AM

BarkingUnicorn: This  thread is further testimony that strict materialists are the most shallow, closed-minded, unaware, and miserable of humans.


I actually agree with this.  If you're the strictest of materialists, you really have no rational excuse to be anything but a sociopath.  Luckily most people realize that other human beings have something to contribute to our lives as well as their own dreams, aspirations, needs and we empathize with them and treat them as we'd want to be treated.  It's pretty much the basis of how humans manage to live in any kind of societal structure regardless of religion.
 
2013-06-25 10:05:58 AM

big pig peaches: There is actually research that shows that certain areas of the brain "light up" when praying or during other spiritual behavior. The human mind is basically hard wired for religion; finding meaning in the meaningless. So it makes sense that without religion some people would feel something was "missing".


I personally believe that a  huge part of that is a sense of community.  Religious people are all part of a super awesome club that tons of other people are in... you get together and talk, have BBQs, faires and other fun social activities.  The networking that goes on in a church is massive... business deals, etc all end up very closely tied to the church.  I've found myself at a disadvantage in business a number of times because someone else can throw up a christian, jewish, muslim or hindi flag/secret handshake and get themselves through a door or into a meeting that is closed to me as an agnostic atheist.

Modern society has broken traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years... most people dont even know their neighbors aside from the occasional awkward wave on trash day or whatever.

Purpose is also invaluable.. people really  need purpose.  Some people find that in a child, some in a job, but a lot find it through religion.  I floundered for a long time when I was younger because I lacked purpose... I came very close to enlisting as an infantryman because I was so desperate for it.  I've since found myself and my own path, but man it was pretty horrible back when I was just lost in the world.

But yeah..  community and purpose, two things religion does well.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:11 AM

oryx: I don't think he's really an atheist. He's a self hating theist?


Comedy Gold, Jerry.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:33 AM

Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.


You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.
 
2013-06-25 10:07:35 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


No we haven't.
 
2013-06-25 10:09:50 AM
CheekyMonkey:

So, basically, some atheists are as confused and stupid as some believers.

He's not really an atheist. Atheists don't pray, not even to something they made up.

Fantasizing about some "supernatural something" and calling it (a) god is how most religions started. Moses did it; you can too.

As for me, I hereby announce that I'm The One True TheGod. "When I pray I find I am talking to myself." You are too. But you farkers oughta pray harder to blast your prayers past the music of the spheres that's ringing in my ears.

It's a dirty job but somebody's gotta do it.
 
2013-06-25 10:10:06 AM

bluefox3681: Alonjar: As an atheist, I must say I am highly confident that I would lead a much happier more fulfilling life if I could convince myself that there was a god, my place in the universe was "meant to be",  and that I should be doing things for a higher purpose than stimulating my bodies receptors until they cease to function.

Oh well.

You see, that's the rub.  Who are you then to try and change someone that does believe those things and as you put it "leads a much happier more fullfilling life."?  Who are you to try and steal someone's purpose and happiness?

This is why a lot of atheists come off as smug douche bags.


I've never seen an atheist try to convince any religious folk that they're wrong.  I've seen them mock religious people, certainly.  I've seen them tear apart their 'intellectual arguments' when they try to prove that a god exists.

But I've never seen any atheist try and 'convert' anyone.
 
2013-06-25 10:10:30 AM

reaperducer: Let's see... So far we've seen atheists compiling their own sacred books, gathering to listen to their prophets, trying to convert those who don't believe what they believe, gathering for weekly meetings, erecting idols to worship, and now they're praying.

Nope, modern atheism isn't a religion at all.


So a few people who call themselves atheists do some whacky stuff and suddenly all atheists can be judged by their actions??

I guess that makes all christians abortion doctor murderers then. I'm sure you'll agree ... you would want to be a hypocrite now would you??
 
2013-06-25 10:10:39 AM

FarkinHostile: RedPhoenix122: Praise the Sun!

I'm afraid you have it all wrong, RedPhoenix122, all of you. I've been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn't. Don't you understand? It's not the sun up in the sky. It's the Son of God!


I liked her better when she stuck to "Hailing frequencies open, Captain".
 
2013-06-25 10:12:21 AM

Alonjar: Religious people are all part of a super awesome club that tons of other people are in... you get together and talk, have BBQs, faires and other fun social activities.


Or talk very seriously about the species and the asteroid of Death.

Alonjar: traditional community bonds that existed for millions of years.


????
 
2013-06-25 10:13:23 AM

Infernalist: Faith is believing in something absent of evidence.


Not quite.

There are three different kinds of "Faith",derived from the amount (or total lack) of evidence drawn upon to support it.


Type I Faith
Kurtz defines the first kind as 'intransigent faith.' By this is meant faith that will not be affected by any sort of contrary evidence, no matter how strong.  Fundamental born again Christians exhibit Type 1 faith.


Type II faith was called by philosopher William James 'the will to believe.' As defined by Professor Kurtz it is "willful belief where there is insufficient or no evidence either way to make a rational choice." It really involves making a decision to believe, even though the reasons for doing so are not compelling. However, there may be reasons for believing that have nothing to do with the logic of the matter; it may be more comforting, more socially advantageous, or simply easier to choose to believe. Lax Christians exhibit Type 2 faith.


Type III faith is described as 'hypotheses based upon evidence.'
 As I step off a curb to cross with a traffic light that has just turned green, I may safely assume that the light will stay green long enough for me to reach the other side. That assumption is based upon my long experience with traffic lights and the knowledge of the general intent of those who designed, manufactured, installed, and maintain the device. I have exhibited Type III faith.

Science creates a hypothesis based upon observations, then sets out to examine the validity of that hypothesis. After enough observations have been gathered and the idea has been tested thoroughly with positive results, the hypothesis becomes a theory. The beauty of that theory is that it is subject to revision and/or retraction upon the presentation of contrary evidence.


Thus Scientists can be said to exhibit Type 3 faith. Faith in the scientific/critical method is still faith.
 
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